After nearly 46 years in space, NASA lost communications with Voyager 2 last month, leading to a few weeks of silence from the aged interstellar explorer. Now, after a last-ditch effort that was essentially a “shout into the cosmos,” NASA has restored connection to Voyager 2’s signal, resuming communications with the probe.
If you haven’t been following the adventures of NASA’s interstellar probes, while Voyager 1 has been doing just fine, connection with Voyager 2 was lost a few weeks ago when a bad command went through to the probe, causing its antenna to move two degrees away from Earth, effectively cutting off Mission Control’s signal to the spacecraft.
NASA has since resumed connection with the probe, but for a while, it was believed we would have to wait until October, when the probe automatically checked his configuration and signal to Earth, before restoration would happen. Thankfully that isn’t the case, as NASA has restored the Voyager 2 signal, and everything with the probe seems to be fine now.
Since launching from Earth almost 46 years ago, Voyager 2 has traveled over 12.4 billion miles from our planet, even leaving the heliosphere behind to cross into interstellar space. Like its sibling, Voyager 1, the probe is equipped with the “Golden Record,” which acts as both a time capsule and a welcoming gesture should the probe come across any intelligent alien life.
Despite being so far from home and so old at this point, Voyager 2 continues to deliver information and data about interstellar space back home. Now that connection to Voyager 2’s signal has been restored, NASA can ensure that connection remains strong and that the space probe continues operating as well as it can for years to come.
Perhaps future probes like this can help us learn more about our own solar system, like how granite ended up on the Moon and even why Uranus is on its side like it is.